Our IMPACT Tracks I and II brings together co-op industry and thought leaders, policymakers and other partners to explore how co-ops can build a more inclusive economy. 

In 2017, our IMPACT Track helped practitioners navigate the dizzying map of co-op financing options, understand how organizations make funding decisions and learn how funders and the development community can work together to impact their members and communities. The IMPACT Track also explored worker co-op conversions and addressed how co-op measurement and evaluation can help meet reporting requirements for funders and regulators and tell the compelling story of how co-ops build a better world. 

With a focus on participation, growth and connection, our 2018 IMPACT Track sessions, below, are open to attendees from any track. This track is included in base registration.


Wednesday, October 3



Wednesday, October 3
8:30 - 10 a.m.

The U.S. economy has been in one of the longest recoveries on record.  Yet years after the Great Recession, the wealth of many U.S. families has not recovered, and many people feel increasing economic insecurity. In 2016, the median wealth of U.S. households was only 70 percent of the 2007 level, making even more urgent the need to increase economic opportunities for all families across the country. As people-centered businesses, cooperatives have been at the forefront of this transformation. This session explores the inclusive economy and the role of cooperative businesses in the U.S. economy and in communities across the country. Members of the Council of Cooperative Economists will examine the role of cooperative businesses in the inclusive economy and the unique co-op advantage in a variety of industries, from financial services to food and agriculture. The session will provide the key trends and evidence on how cooperatives impact families and local economies.

Moderator: Emilia Istrate, Vice President for Resource Development, NCBA CLUSA

Panelists: Terry Barr, Senior Director, Knowledge Exchange Division, CoBank; Camille Kerr, Business Developer and Worker Ownership Consultant; Jordan van Rijn, Senior Economist, Credit Union National Association; Russell Tucker, Chief Economist, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

IMPact track 1: The ABC’s of Cooperative Impact

PRESENTED BY the urban institute, central co-op, cornell university and saint mary's university 

Wednesday, October 3
10:30 - 11:45 a.m.

While interest in cooperatives is growing, evidence about their unique contributions to American economic activity, community vitality and worker wellbeing is still emerging. To better understand cooperatives and their links supporting a more inclusive economy, the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF) and the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International contracted with the Urban Institute to develop a shared framework for assessing impact—on cooperative enterprises, their members and the communities they serve. The work was supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This presentation will discuss the Urban Institute’s report, “The ABCs of Cooperative Impact,” as well as examples of cooperatives that have measured their economic and societal impact in their communities.

Moderator: Sonja Novkovic, Professor of Economics, Academic Director, Cooperative Management Education Program, Saint Mary’s University

Panelists: Todd Schmit, Associate Professor, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics, Cornell University; Susanna Schultz, Director of Marketing, Central Co-op; Brett Theodos, Director, Community Economic Development Hub, Urban Institute; Margaret Lund, Consultant

impact track II: Building a more inclusive economy, from the midwest to west africa

Presented by organic valley, national co+op grocers and CUNA mutual

Wednesday, October 3
10:30 - 11:45 a.m.

What do an Organic Valley ruminant nutritionist, business development manager at National Co+op Grocers (NCG), and strategy manager at CUNA Mutual all have in common? In addition to being part of the U.S. cooperative movement based in the Midwest, they have all volunteered their time and talents with smallholder farmers in Senegal, West Africa, helping create a more inclusive economy that provides opportunities for people everywhere to improve their livelihoods. This session will expand participants’ understanding of how the cooperative sector can contribute to building an inclusive economy by highlighting the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program.

The F2F program sends American farmers and cooperative members, agribusiness professionals, university professors and cooperative development experts on two- to three-week agricultural development assignments, promoting sustainable economic growth and food security around the world. At a time when building an inclusive economy is more imperative than ever, the F2F program is a unique and inspiring example of how the cooperative sector can contribute in substantial ways to this vision globally.

This session will include perspectives from NCBA CLUSA members from the grocery, finance and livestock sectors who have volunteered with NCBA CLUSA’s F2F program in Senegal. Megan Wall, NCBA CLUSA's Farmer-to-Farmer Director, will moderate this session.

Moderator: Megan Wall, Director, Farmer-to-Farmer Program, NCBA CLUSA

Panelists: Dr. Silvia Abel-Caines, Staff Ruminant Nutritionist, Organic Valley; J. Erin Baize, Program Analyst, Farmer-to-Farmer Program, USAID Bureau for Food Security; Jennifer Seeker Conroy, Senior Product Manager, CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions; Heidi Traore, Business Development Manager, National Co+op Grocers

keynote: Co-ops to the rescue in times of political turmoil - The role of cooperative organizations in creating social capital

presented by quentin kidd, christopher newport university

Wednesday, October 3
Noon - 1:30 p.m.

Quentin Kidd is Dean of the College of Social Sciences, professor of political science and Director of the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. His teaching and research in the areas of race and ethnic politics, civic participation, and public opinion and policy make him a frequent TV and radio commentator in Virginia and nationally. Quentin is an author of The Rational Southerner: Black Mobilization, Republic Growth and Partisan Transformation of the American South (2012, Oxford University Press), which traces political realignment in the American South from a Democratic bastion to a Republican stronghold. The book argues that race was—and still is—the primary driver behind political change in the region.  

Quentin has received numerous teaching awards including the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia, the Christopher Newport Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship, and the Christopher Newport Alumni Society Award for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring. He has been named “Professor of the Year” three times by the students at Christopher Newport. Quentin holds a doctorate in Political Science from Texas Tech University. 

During this keynote, Quentin will look at the current state of our politics, arguing that while politics have always been a very rough game what makes things so difficult today is the loss of social capital in society. He will discuss how cooperative organizations build social capital, and encourage the development of the cooperative movement as a way to reverse the decline in social capital.


Presented by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Wednesday, October 3
2 - 3:15 p.m.

Thirty-four million Americans still lack access to high-speed internet, according to the FCC. Most of them call rural America home and live in electric co-op service territories. Now, nearly 100 electric co-ops are reinvesting in rural America by bringing broadband access to rural homes, businesses and schools. This connectivity serves two key purposes: bridging the digital divide for co-op members and enhancing the co-op business operation network, allowing the co-op and its members to adopt emerging energy management technology. These newly connected co-op communities are a proven strategy to create jobs, attract new employers and jumpstart local economies. The convergence of new technology and partnerships has made rural broadband deployment more achievable than ever. As electric co-ops work to bring broadband to rural America, some have formed innovative partnerships with local telecom companies and others. Yet despite these advances, the high cost of rural broadband deployment remains the biggest obstacle to successfully closing the digital divide. At the same time, there are fewer customers to defray the costs.

During this session, IMPACT participants will understand the broad economic and quality of life impacts for rural communities from broadband partnerships with cooperatives. The session will also explore opportunities for federal and state funding that may be available for such partnerships. Case studies will provide participants with lessons learned and best practices for working with co-op members, potential partners, policymakers and other stakeholders.

Moderator: Russell Tucker, Chief Economist, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Panelists: Jeffrey Connor, COO, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association; Lynn Hodges, CEO, Ralls County Electric Cooperative; Mike Keyser, CEO, BARC Electric Cooperative; Bryon Stilley, CEO, Chariton Valley Electric Cooperative

impact track II: Creating a Cooperative Economy in Communities of Color

Presented by the association for black economic power and capital impact partners

Wednesday, October 3
2 - 3:15 p.m.

Across the U.S., communities of color are increasingly utilizing the co-op model to meet their needs and create their own solutions. The need for an economic renaissance is already dire, and the data shows that the racial wealth gap continues to grow. Innovative strategies are necessary to address complex disparities around access to food, housing, financing and employment.  

This panel will include several co-ops in communities of color including the Association for Black Economic Power (ABEP). ABEP is working to establish Village Trust Financial Cooperative, Minnesota’s only Black-led financial institution. This concept was established 20 months ago in response to the killing of Philando Castile as a way to use our economic power as a form of resistance, to build the financial resilience of our communities, and insulate against extraction and divestment. Capital Impact Partners, who awarded ABEP $25,000 in grant funding to help establish Village Trust, will join the discussion with ABEP and link the conversation to their own work partnering with organizations to advance efforts that expand social and racial justice. 

Moderator: Ellis Carr, President and CEO, Capital Impact Partners

Panelists: Shiranthi Goonathilkaka, Director of Engagement and Membership Experience, Association for Black Economic Power; Renee Hatcher, Director, Community Enterprise and Solidarity Economy Law Clinic, The John Marshall Law School-Chicago; Raynardo Williams, Operations Manager, Seward Community Co-op

impact track I: building community connections through measurable impact

Presented by national Co+OP GROCERS 

Wednesday, October 3
3:45 - 5 p.m.

National Co+op Grocers has developed strong systems to collect and measure data from its more than 200 retail food co-op locations illustrating their efforts in environmental, social and economic impacts in their own communities. When looking at the aggregate measurements, the U.S. food co-op sector is making tremendous contributions in comparison to conventional grocer counterparts, despite issues of scale. We'll present data from several individual consumer owned food co-ops, along with the aggregate of NCG membership, and discuss how this information translates to a compelling competitive advantage for our retailers in a challenging retail environment and also aids the grocery co-op sector's efforts to influence public policy.

Panelists: Ben Becker, Project Manager, Willy Street Co-op; Nancy O’Connor, Director of Education and Outreach; The Merc Co+op; Sheila Ongie, Sustainability Manager, National Co+op Grocers; Mo Valko, Marketing Manager, Boise Co-op

impact track II: measuring the success of co-op development across sectors and regions

Presented by cooperationworks!  

Wednesday, October 3
3:45 - 5:15 p.m.

Cooperative development in the U.S. must serve diverse populations across co-op sectors. With such a broad movement, how can we be sure that best practices are followed? What metrics should be tracked to ensure positive impact on the member-owners and their communities? This panel gives a glimpse into the models and techniques used by cooperative developers across the U.S. in the food, housing and worker co-op sectors. Panelists will explore what success means and how it’s measured across regions and sectors. The projects presented will demonstrate the breadth of co-op development happening across the U.S., what it takes for projects to be successful, and how that success can be measured to show the social and economic impact of cooperatives. 

Panelists: Jan Brown, Executive Director, Montana Cooperative Development Center; Noémi Giszpenc, Executive Director, Cooperative Development Institute; Kim Coontz, Executive Director, California Center for Cooperative Development; Stuart Reid, Executive Director, Food Co-op Initiative

Thursday, October 4

plenary: policy breakfast

Presented by NCBA CLUSA

Thursday, October 4
8:30 - 10 a.m. 

We're taking our Policy Breakfast to Capitol Hill this year! Join us Thursday morning, October 4 for this special event, featuring the presentation of the first-ever Cooperative IMPACT Champion Award to Indiana Sen. Todd Young, who co-sponsored Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s Main Street Employee Ownership Act of 2018, and remarks by USDA's Bette Brand. Space (on the bus, and in the room) is limited. To attend in person, you must register for IMPACT 2018 and select “Yes, I will attend in person” during Eventbrite checkout. Our 50 available seats are first come, first served. Be sure to reserve your space now! The Cooperative IMPACT Champion Award is given to individuals in public service who work tirelessly to create an environment in public policy and legislation that allows cooperative businesses to grow and thrive. These recipients are champions of values-based businesses that focus on building resilient local communities.

Our Policy Breakfast will also be live-streamed over breakfast at the conference hotel.



Thursday, October 4
10:30 - 11:45 a.m. 

Brent Hueth, Associate Professor of Agriculture and Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, will detail how key cooperative sectors impact and influence the U.S. economy. Brent will discuss the work he and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives are doing to create data infrastructure that captures cooperative activity in the U.S. economy and provides a basis for ongoing reporting over time. Through discussion of the data the team has processed and the use of the interactive map and tables that show co-op presence in the U.S., Brent will give conference attendees a clearer picture of the unique role of cooperatives in the U.S. economy and the importance of data collection and research funding to the future of the cooperative movement.

Speaker: Brent Hueth, Associate Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics and Director, Center for Cooperatives and Federal Statistical System Research Data Center; University of Wisconsin-Madison

impact track II: the new tax law and your co-op

Presented by autry, hall and cook and wegner cpas

Thursday, October 4
10:30 - 11:45 a.m. 

An accountant and an attorney discuss what you need to know about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).  Patronage dividends, tax rates, pass through business deduction, depreciation, meals, loss carryovers and more. Learn what your co-op should be thinking about now.

Speakers: David Cook, Attorney, Autry, Hall and Cook, LLP; Bruce Mayer, Partner, Wegner CPAs

plenary: building trust with data - the Co-op advantage in a data-driven world

Presented by the national information solutions cooperative, cometrics and savvy cooperative 

Thursday, October 4
Noon - 1:30 p.m.

The level of trust in institutions around the world has been on the decline since the Great Recession. Ten years after the bust of the housing bubble, the U.S. is undergoing a new phase in the loss of trust: 2018 witnessed the deepest decline of the American public’s trust in U.S. government, media, nonprofits and businesses since Edelman started releasing its annual Trust Barometer. This level of distrust is apparent in the ways Americans are becoming increasingly skeptical about how companies handle their information. Cooperative businesses, in which consumers are the owners and providers of data, offer a path forward. During this lunch plenary, three cooperatives—National Information Solutions Cooperative, Savvy Cooperative and CoMetric—will explore the unique advantages of co-ops in delivering value to a wide range of sectors through data and analytics. This session will also examine the role of data for cooperative businesses and how it provides a comparative advantage.

Moderator: Emilia Istrate, Vice President for Resource Development, NCBA CLUSA

Panelists: Paul Giudice, CEO, CoMetrics; Jen Horonjeff, CEO and Co-Founder, Savvy Cooperative; Jasper Schneider, Vice President of Membership & Industry, National Information Solutions Cooperative

impact track i: Breaking down walls and building participation

Presented by the Neighboring Food Co-op Association

Thursday, October 4
2 - 3 p.m.

For more than 170 years, food co-ops have worked to achieve the ideals of democracy, empowerment and inclusion—ideals we continue to strive toward today. How can co-ops continue to work to ensure our doors are open to all people, "without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination," in keeping with the 7 Cooperative Principles? This starts by identifying who we’re excluding and then taking action to be more welcoming, recognizing that we are better—and more successful and relevant—when we are more inclusive, when we lift one another up, and when we work together to remove barriers to participation.  Join us to explore how the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NCFA) is working with its 35 member food co-ops, startups and partners across New England to address this question through our Food Co-ops & Healthy Food Access work.

During this interactive workshop, IMPACT participants will learn how NCFA’s structure as a federation of food co-ops is supporting innovation and learning among member food co-ops about sourcing, healthy food access, economic inclusion and peer collaboration. Participants will learn techniques and tools to evaluate and improve programs to engage and better serve low-income and marginalized community members and expand co-op membership and participation. You’ll leave with the tools necessary to help differentiate your co-ops in the marketplace and use community feedback to improve your co-op’s image and relevance—particularly among people who don’t see themselves reflected at your store.

Speakers: Erbin Crowell, Executive Director, Neighboring Food Co-op Association; Bonnie Hudspeth, Member Programs Manager, Neighboring Food Co-op Association

impact track II: Cooperation among cooperatives: Building a cooperative economy

Presented by Organic Valley, Equal Exchange, Shared Capital Cooperative and the Cooperative Fund of New England 

Thursday, October 4
2 - 3 p.m.

This session will focus on how capital can be a critical tool for cooperation among cooperatives in building a cooperative economy. Through the experience of two cooperatives, Organic Valley and Equal Exchange, that have experienced tremendous growth in recent decades, and two providers of capital, Shared Capital Cooperative and the Cooperative Fund of New England, we will have a focused conversation about capital.

This session will explore what a truly sustainable cooperative economy could look like and discuss the role of cooperative capital in building and sustaining such an economy. IMPACT participants will learn how cooperatives can meet their own financial needs while also supporting each other. They’ll learn about critical factors to consider when choosing where to borrow or invest. Are there benefits beyond interest rates, such as democratic control, autonomy and cooperation among co-ops? Finally, this session will consider the benefits of a cooperative sector that develops and supports its own capital resources first before turning to outside markets.

Moderator: Vernon Oakes, Host, Everything Co-op

Panelists: Rebecca Dunn, Executive Director, Cooperative Fund of New England; Daniel Fireside, Capital Coordinator, Equal Exchange; Christina Jennings, Executive Director, Shared Capital Cooperative; Jerry McGeorge, Vice President of Cooperative Affairs, Organic Valley

impact track I: Workers to Owners: Converting to an inclusive shared ownership economy

Presented by the Democracy at Work Institute, project equity and The ica group

Thursday, October 4
3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Business conversions to cooperative ownership present a clear opportunity not only to retain businesses and jobs in rural and low-income communities, but also articulate the true value of cooperative ownership and connect to unlikely partners. The Worker to Owners (W2O) Collaborative convened by the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) is an innovative industry-uniting strategy designed to accomplish together what none of us can do alone: catalyze a wave of conversions to cooperative ownership at a moment of generational opportunity. The collaborative focuses on strategies that expand the worker cooperative model to benefit communities historically locked out of ownership prosperity—low-wage workers, rural workers and communities of color—and has drawn attention from local policymakers and economic developers, national funders and capital providers, civil rights and rural development organizations.

During this session, IMPACT participants will engage in a strategic conversation about how other co-op sectors can contribute to and benefit from the preservation of local businesses through worker ownership—form hardware stores that are purchasing coop members, to manufacturers that are key job creators, to main street businesses that are rural community anchors. Learn how cooperative conversions can be a viable, scalable strategy for sharing prosperity and building a more inclusive and equitable economy.

Speaker: Hilary Abell, Co-founder, Project Equity

impact track 1 bonus session: The Natural Alignment of Cooperatives & the Sustainable Economy
presented by the american sustainable business council

Thursday, October 4
3:30 - 4:15 p.m. 

In 2017, the American Sustainable Business Council published its High-Road Workplace report, which measures data from both private and public sources to present the necessary steps that legislators and business leaders must take to create a modern and inclusive economy. A central plank of this platform is worker-ownership, which is a proven method to increase worker happiness and productivity, as well as business stability. This panel will discuss how cooperatives are versatile business models that can be implemented anywhere, as well as how they play the role of both local economic driver and job creator.

Moderator: John Minor, Policy Manager, American Sustainable Business Council

Panelists: Sandra McCardell, Co-Founder and Coordinating Director, Cooperative Catalyst of New Mexico; Steve Sleigh, Consultant, Sleigh Strategy LLC; and Steve Dubb, Senior Editor, Non-Profit Quarterly

impact track II: Engaging with the co-op community on sustainability: Lessons and observations from farmer cooperatives

Presented by the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

Thursday, October 4
3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Farmer cooperatives are naturally inclined to engage in the shared economic participation and community that provides a strong foundation for conducting effective sustainability programs. Since 2015, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) has carried out a collaborative program to support and enhance its members' sustainability efforts. In doing so, NCFC has learned valuable lessons about working to support the wide range of cooperative business in the constantly changing, complex environment of supply chain partners, consumers and policymakers. 

This panel discussion will provide an opportunity to hear directly from farmer cooperative sustainability staff about their practical experiences in developing programs, engaging with their members and communities, and communicating with the rest of the supply chain. IMPACT participants will learn about real-world challenges facing sustainability efforts and the unique value cooperatives bring to and realize from supply chain sustainability. 

Moderator: Larry Elworth, Principal, Center for Agricultural Partnerships (CAP), LLC

Panelists: Kelsey Billings, Director of Government Affairs and Sustainability, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives; Sarah Gallo, Director, Federal Affairs, CHS Government Affairs, CHS Inc.

impact track 1 Bonus session: The Importance of Policy to the Cooperative Model
presented by the american sustainable business council

Thursday, October 4
4:15 - 5:30 p.m. 

There are policy lessons to be learned from the differences between judo and boxing—using momentum to scale, tipping points and healing from within. Building on positive public reaction to the recently passed, bipartisan Main Street Employee Ownership Act of 2018, we need to:

  • Imagine and launch hybrid ownership models that anticipate where America’s working class is going, not just where it’s been

  • Repurpose and center-stage comprehensive and inclusive worker/employee ownership policy as the structural antidote that is bipartisan, market-based and socio-culturally empowering.

We can heal America’s opiate nation by transforming stakeholders into shareholders with broadened and deepened local living economy ownership as the overriding catalyst to any aspirational “Future of Work” within an economy that works for all.

Moderator: John O’Neill, Senior Policy Analyst, American Sustainable Business Council

Panelists: Jon Cardinal, Director of Economic Development for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; Saat Alety, Legislative Assistant to Sen. Tim Scott; and Michael Peck, Co-Founder and Executive Director, 1worker1vote.

impact track II: place-based and cross-sectoral cooperative alliances - A roundtable discussion

Presented by the philadelphia area cooperative alliance and the cooperative economics Alliance of new york city

Thursday, October 4
4:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Since the economic crisis of 2008, the occupy movement and the International Year of the Cooperative, cooperatives of all kinds are emerging and re-integrating into ongoing urban social movements for the rights of affordable housing, access to healthcare and healthy food, renewable energy, dignity and control in the workplace, economic and racial justice, and more. This new energy is vibrant, exciting and is bringing an entirely new generation and new politics to the cooperative movement.

As part of this shift toward a broader and healthier cooperative economy, several cities have launched cross-sectoral cooperative development advocacy associations. These are part community development technicians, part business association and part peer learning network, and are experimenting and improvising with building stronger communities enabling political and economic environments for cooperatives in urban areas in ways that center racial justice and counteract systemic oppression in the economy more broadly. They are part of a big-tent approach in which cooperatives are aligned with sustainable and social enterprises and “good” business, but also recognize the ways in which cooperatives are distinct, with their own needs, challenges and strengths. 

During this session, learn how the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance and the Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City are charting a new path for a movement with a deep and rich history. This roundtable includes opportunities for questions, insights an problem-solving from the audience.

Friday, October 5

impact track I: breakfast and remarks

Presented by the u.s. agency for international development

Friday, October 5
8:30 - 9:30 a.m.  

Featuring remarks from Julie Cram, Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment (E3) at USAID.

impact track I: increasing economic participation and self-reliance through co-ops in the U.S. and around the world

Presented by NRECA, IFFCOFEDECOCAGUA and Health Partners

Friday, October 5
9:30 - 11 a.m. 

Cooperatives, through self-help, empowerment and by investing in their communities and the well-being of people worldwide, nurture a long-term vision for economic participation, sustainable growth, social development and environmental responsibility. In rural America and many countries around the world, cooperatives play a significant role in people’s access to markets as producers, consumers and workers. Cooperatives impact every sector: health, agriculture, food processing, commerce, finance, energy and insurance, enabling a coordinated multi-sector approach around shared values.

This panel includes representatives from four cooperative organizations whose businesses are impacting the lives of tens of millions of producers, consumers and workers across the U.S. and around the world: The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), representing America’s electric co-ops; the Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), one of the world’s largest fertilizer and marketing co-ops; FEDECOCAGUA, the second largest coffee cooperative exporter in Guatemala; and HealthPartners, the largest consumer-governed nonprofit healthcare organization in the U.S. Rebecca Savoie, director of Cooperative Development for NCBA CLUSA, will moderate this session.

Moderator: Rebecca Savoie, Director of Cooperative Development, NCBA CLUSA

Panelists: Martin Lowery, Executive Vice President, Emeritus, NRECA; Tarun Bhargava, Deputy General Manager, Sustainable Cooperative Development Team, Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative; Gerardo Alberto De León, Commercial Manager, FEDECOCAGUA; Britt Alexandra Cruz, Program Manager, Health Partners

impact track II: Power Play - Using inclusive financing to bring energy efficiency and renewable energy to rural electric cooperative members

Presented by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute

Friday, October 5
9:30 - 10:30 a.m. 

The session will feature rural electric co-op leaders talking about why and how they are using innovative programs like on-bill financing to bring energy efficiency and renewable energy to their members at all socio-economic levels. By giving electric co-op members and other utility customers the ability to finance energy efficiency improvements made to their homes and businesses over time, on-bill financing is an affordable way to integrate technology that ultimately reduces energy costs, improves reliability and increases efficiency.

During this session, IMPACT participants will understand the on-bill model for energy upgrades and learn about funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture available for such programs, as well as new technical assistance resources offered by EESI’s partnership with NCBA CLUSA. This session will also discuss how these programs can advance durable economic development in rural America.

Speakers: Rob Ardis, President and CEO, Santee Electric Cooperative; Mark Cayce, General Manager and CEO, Ouachita Electric Cooperative

impact track I: unleashing youth’s potential - economic empowerment at scale through cooperatives

Presented by the mastercard foundation, ncba clusa and the u.s. federation of worker cooperatives

Friday, October 5
11 a.m. - Noon

This panel will explore the role cooperatives play in providing youth economic opportunities at scale in Africa and the United States. Through cooperatives, youth can garner more market influence, buying power and increase their capacity to save, invest, and market their products and services on a larger scale. At the same time, co-op membership creates a sense of belonging and builds social capital. Cooperatives offer a myriad of employment options for young people that appeal to their interests—business ownership, employment security, greater voice through democratic processes, and social protection. They also have the potential to grow into thriving enterprises at scale, further securing these benefits for youth.

Moderator: Jonathan White, Director of Private Sector Partnerships and Foundations, NCBA CLUSA

Panelists: Sambou Coly, Program Manager for Financial Empowerment, Mastercard Foundation; Naphtal Etyang, Chief of Party, Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture (YETA) Project, NCBA CLUSA; Esteban Kelly, Executive Director, U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives

From a lot of different directions there are people here who are converging on a lot of the same challenges, and I think the key to all of those is helping to support the kind of risk taking and innovation that a lot of the people I’ve been working with are itching to do.
— Nathan Schneider, University of Colorado
In these divided times, it’s really important to think about how everybody who is participating in the economy can benefit from the economy, and co-ops really are a great model to show the way.
— Maureen Conway, Executive Director of the Economic Opportunities Program, Aspen Institute
It’s been really a delight to connect with other professionals, academics and other scholars around the country who share an interest in the study of cooperatives as a business form.
— Brent Hueth, University of Wisconsin